Did you know that Louisiana was named after King Louis XIV of France? The state is known for its rich history, culture, and of course, Mardi Gras. But before you get on your motorcycle and set out on an adventure through the Pelican State, don’t forget your license!
To get a Louisiana motorcycle license, you must apply for it at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV). But you will not be getting a separate motorcycle license. Instead, the state of Louisiana offers a Class M endorsement. This will be added to your existing driver’s license.
For a Louisiana motorcycle endorsement, motorcycle riders must pass vision and knowledge tests (written tests). You will also have to pass a road skills test. But the OMV office will waive the on-cycle skills test if you have completed a state-approved motorcycle safety course.
Applying for a Class M endorsement
In Louisiana, you need a motorcycle endorsement to operate motorcycles and motor-driven cycles with more than 5 horsepower.
As per Louisiana law, you must be at least 15 years of age to apply for a motorcycle endorsement. And you must already have a standard driver’s license (Class E), learner’s permit, or commercial driver’s license.
To apply for a motorcycle endorsement, the first step is to make an appointment and go to a local office of the Louisiana OMV. You need to bring along the following documents:
- A completed Application for a License or Identification Card (Form DPSMV 2003)
- Your valid Louisiana driver’s license.
- Two proofs of identity.
- Proof of Louisiana residency.
- Proof of insurance.
You have to pass a vision exam. Then, you have to pass a written exam. This test features multiple-choice questions and is based on the Louisiana motorcycle operator manual. There are free practice tests online that you can try out.
Then, the final step is to take and pass a road test. For this, you have to bring your motorcycle (insured and registered) with a current license plate. You also need to have a motorcycle helmet and eye protection unless your motorcycle has a windshield.
Currently, you have to pay an M endorsement fee of $18.00 (there may be additional fees, not more than $6). But if you have a valid driver’s license less than four years old, then the fee is $15.
How to get the road test waived
The OMV will allow you to skip the on-cycle skills exam if you have completed a motorcycle training safety course. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety offers such courses.
They include a basic rider course as well as an advanced course. Here is a course schedule.
One of the best ways to go about this is to take the the “Department of Public Safety, Motorcycle Safety, Awareness, and Operators Training Program.” This course has classroom instruction. It also includes training on a motorcycle in a controlled, off-street environment.
If you have passed this test after 28 October 2011, the OMV will waive the motorcycle knowledge exam and skills test. But if the certificate is before the given date, the OMV will waive only the skills test.
There are also other approved Louisiana motorcycle safety courses. Here is a list of course providers.
Applicants must provide the original certificate as proof of completion. Only then will the OMV waive the necessary tests.
If you are under 18 years of age
In this case, a parent or legal guardian must accompany you while applying for your motorcycle license.
Any 15-year-old or 16-year-old with an M endorsement on their learner’s permit can only drive a motorcycle within three miles of their home. The minimum age to apply for a learner’s permit is 15 years.
Additionally, those under 18 years must complete the LA Driver’s Education course. This course is also necessary for anyone who has never held a driver’s license from any state.
An M endorsement expires when your driver’s license does.
For example, a Class “E” licenses expire on your birthday, approximately 6 years from the date of issuance. You can renew your license up to 180 days prior to or upon expiration.
An applicant can also change his class of license at renewal or between the renewal periods.
What if you already have a motorcycle endorsement from another state?
In such cases, you must transfer your motorcycle endorsement within 30 days of establishing residency in Louisiana. You must also transfer your motorcycle registration within 30 days of establishing residency in LA.
To transfer your motorcycle endorsement, you have to visit your local LA OMV branch. There, submit proof of identity, your valid driver’s license or official driving record, and your social security card. You also have to show auto insurance. Then, pass the vision exam.
If your driver’s license from another state is valid, you don’t have to take a road test and a knowledge exam.
Note: Those under 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Can you get a motorcycle permit in Louisiana?
Motorcycle permits are quite common in many states, especially for those under the age of 18 years. They are meant to help new riders learn how to ride a motorcycle safely before they get a full license.
However, Louisiana does not have this system. It does not offer a motorcycle learner’s permit. So, if you are looking to safely gain some practical training while riding, it is a good idea to enroll in a motorcycle training course.
The Department of Public Safety offers such courses, and so do other providers. And some even provide a motorcycle for you to practice on. This way, you can get some practical skills before going ahead and buying a new motorcycle.
The DPS beginner’s course costs $25 if you use your own motorcycle (not to exceed 550cc). Or $100 if you need one.
Motorcycle insurance in Louisiana
Louisiana requires that riders show proof of a minimum liability policy when they first register a motorbike in the state. It will only register bikes with proof of insurance.
In Louisiana, no one can file a claim for their injuries after motorcycle accidents if they do not have insurance coverage. This doesn’t matter who is at fault.
So, motorcycle insurance in LA needs to provide minimum coverage as below:
- $15,000 for death or bodily injury to one person$30,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons
- $25,000 for damage or destruction of property
Helmet and other laws
- All riders must wear motorcycle helmets in the state.
- Eye protection is also mandatory unless the motorcycle has a windscreen.
- The motorcycle must have a left-hand rearview mirror.
- Lane splitting is not legal.
To get a Louisiana motorcycle license, you have to apply for it at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV). But this is a Class M endorsement on a regular driver’s license instead of a separate license.
You have to pass a vision test and a motorcycle knowledge test. You will also have to pass a road skills test. But the OMV office will waive the on-cycle skills test if you have completed a state-approved motorcycle safety course.
So, what are you waiting for? Mardi Gras awaits!